Check our interview with Gianna Simone who lights up the screen in new movie “Mother’s Day” alongside Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts and Jason Sudeikis in this celebration of mothers everywhere.The big-hearted comedy (in Theaters April 29th) invites everyone to enjoy the laughter, tears and love as three generations come together in the week leading up to Mother’s Day.
MOTHER’S DAY is both hilarious and poignant, with the film intertwining stories of different mothers. Gianna stars as “Val,” a pregnant, first-time mother navigating her pregnancy and new role
in life. She is joined by television host ‘Miranda’ (Julia Roberts), divorcee ‘Sandy’ (Jennifer Aniston) who is looking for love, and ‘Jesse’ (Kate Hudson), a women who wants more than anything to strengthen her relationship with her distant mother.
In addition, Gianna also hits the silver screen in GOD’S NOT DEAD 2 (in theaters everywhere tomorrow,) where she tackles the hot topic issue of religious freedom in public schools. After answering a student’s seemingly harmless question about Jesus, junior high-school teacher ‘Grace Wesley’ (Melissa Joan Hart) faces an epic case that could end her teaching career for good. Always up for a challenging role, Gianna, stars as ‘Elizabeth Healy,’ the sharp and aggressive lawyer fighting to have ‘Grace’ banned from teaching at the school.
When not in front of the camera or producing, Gianna pours her heart into the Gianna Simone Foundation which is inspired by her own journey in foster care. The mission of her foundation is to help provide rescue and wellness support to abused and neglected human beings and animals.
Please tell us a little about you?
I am originally from Boston, MA and pretty much grew up all over MA, mainly in the intercity, with a few years in the “boonies” in Wilbraham, MA. I was put into foster care just when I turned 14 years old. This was a big part of my childhood/young adult life, and shaped me in many ways for the better. It was hard and hopeless at times, but ultimately taught me empathy and lessons you can only learn from living and experiencing difficult times.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Strong, perseverant, focused
Why and how did you get started in acting?
I originally had a burning desire to model and only model, but as I got my modeling portfolio done and began shopping it around to agencies, I was rejected many times and was told to act instead. Naturally this made me push harder and fight for it more, meanwhile not wanting to act. Eventually becoming successful in modeling, I ironically fell in love with acting. I realized this when friends and coworkers would tell me I took on characters and projected something from the inside when I was in front of the camera.
What was the first role you ever did?
At 16 years old I walked up to a film shooting in Boston, handed a man my comp card (modeling card) he passed it on, and they hired me that day, to play an extra on their feature, which led to future principal work. It took a lot of courage! They must’ve liked it.
Do you have or had acting classes?
I find being on set and learning from working with great talent, directors and actors, is a better learning experience than any class.
Tell us about your experience in castings?
Sometimes I’ve hit things out of the park, and sometimes I’ve walked out feeling not so great. I think auditioning can be invigorating and fun most of the time. It’s an opportunity to act and go play even for a moment.
Tell us about your character in “Mother’s Day”?
I play “Val” a 9 month pregnant mommy to be. I am coworkers and close friends with “Kristen” played by Brit Robertson. Who plays Julia Robert’s estranged daughter.
What is the movie about?
It’s a very synchronized film and brilliantly links all of its characters together with the stories of 9 different moms. I love this concept because it shows, on a small scale, how we’re all from the same place and how we’re all connected.
You are part of an A-Celebrity cast, what it was working with them?
It’s always thrilling to work alongside people who are masters at what they do. When I learn new things, i.e. I do aerial acrobatics and I choose to learn from the best of the best, so I can become that. It is this way with acting, as well. When you are around other great talent it can only bring you up.
Now tell us about “God’s Not Dead 2” and also about your role.
God’s Not Dead 2 is an inspirational story of standing up for what you believe in even when you may be persecuted for it. It’s about faith, helping others when in need, and unselfishly giving.
I play Elizabeth Healy one of the ACLU prosecutors, alongside Ray Wise and Eamonn McCrystal. Trying to get Melissa Joan Hart’ s character banned from teaching for talking about her faith, and going toe to toe with her attorney played by Jesse Metcalfe. We definitely play the bad guys; however, the “bad guy” roles are just as important as the “good guy” roles because they are each other’s defining factors. You can’t know light without dark.
How do you prepare for a role?
I research and study. I memorize my lines, and as I do, I envision how the lines need to be delivered, and how to stay true to the character. I always like to keep it real when I act. People are smart and I always give the viewer the chance to interpret and really feel the character’s feelings.
What have you learned from your other actors?
The biggest lesson was from a Skype call before shooting with the director Garry Marshall, who said to me “Don’t change anything, just show up as you” Which is a rarity in life, let alone Hollywood.
Who is your favorite actress?
Angelina Jolie, for many years she has inspired me not only as an actress but as a woman who has been through a lot and come out better from it. I relate to that a lot.
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
I hope and pray I am continually guided in a direction that is filled with roles I truly enjoy playing, and living life that I experience joy in every day. My ultimate roles to play in the upcoming years are, in an action film, a real gritty drama, and a love story. I love strong female characters like Wonder Woman.
If you were not an actress what else you will be doing?
What do you think of Social Media in the Entertainment business?
I think it’s become so prevalent and a defining factor in one’s celebrity, and thus booking jobs.
Best advice ever given?
“Do what’s in your heart” “Use your best judgement” & “I believe in you” from my dad Anthony Baxter, Bill Heavener “Always be the authentic Gianna, and whatever you’re doing will work out. God sent you here to be you,” and from Michael DeMarco “Make a decision and let the chips fall where they may.”
What’s your favorite music?
Country, Christian rock/pop and Christmas music. Mostly songs that make me feel, and inspire me.
What’s a normal day in your life?
Wake up, give my two pups lots of love, work out usually aerial silks or biking, answer emails, and the best of days go to set.
Do you have a role model?
Any future plans you want to share with us?
I just wrapped a 10 episode sitcom called “Hitting the Breaks” that I co-produced with PureFlix Entertainment. I play Sky Liberty, a vegan, rebel, hippie. I wanted to make being vegan cool, because it is. With Heart disease being the #1 killer in America and a plant based diet being able to wipe that out entirely, America needs this positive message brought to them in a cool, fun loving way. I’m really excited for it to be released.
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “Unless you try something beyond what you’ve already accomplished, you will never grow”
Book: “Travel Far Pay No Fare” by Anne Lindbergh
Movies: “Titanic” “The Goonies” “Sliding Doors” “It Could Happen to you” “Gia” “Father of The Bride” “Girl Interrupted” “Las Vegas Vacation” “Beaches” and “The Other Sister”
Food: Dates, Mangos, frozen grapes, sweet potatoes, vegan dumplings, and durian
Holiday: Christmas hands down
TV Show: “Sons Of Anarchy” and “Hitting The Breaks”
Photos: Courtesy of Anderson Group Public Relations.